Cats and Children – Do’s and Don’ts
DO encourage your children to take responsibility for feeding your cat on time. It is a good way to teach them discipline. Always check every single day to make sure that the animal has been fed though. Just because you are teaching your child responsibility does not mean your child is ultimately responsible for the pet – you are!
DO encourage your children to clean out your cat’s litter box every day and empty it for you. This teaches them that along with the fun of owning a pet comes a few chores.
DO teach your children how to groom the cat. This is a message to the cat that the child is the boss. It also strengthens the loving bond between you and your children.
DO discourage children from teasing your cat or showing a lack of respect for its body parts. If your toddler cannot grasp the idea that pulling on a cat’s tail causes it distress then it is time to find another home for the cat.
DO encourage children to leave sleeping cats alone. Cats need a lot of sleep to be emotionally healthy.
DO encourage your child to only speak to the cat in a soft, gentle voice. If the cat tries to swipe, bite or gnaw on a child, instruct the child to say no and set the pet down.
DO not hesitate to take your child to a child psychologist immediately if you find it abusing or torturing the animal in any way. This kind of behavior is often a precursor to serious mental, psychological and social disorders that need to be treated early.
DO not hesitate to find the cat a good home if the relationship between your child and the cat is not working out. The cat will easily adapt to a friendly environment and be happier then in one where it has to suffer abuse from a family member.
DON’T let your children kiss your cat on the mouth. This is a good way to catch a virus or a cold.
DON’T let your child handle a kitten that is less than three weeks old. Often kids can’t keep their hands off the mother and the kitten. Handling the kitten too early not only compromises its immune system but also traumatizes both the mother and the kitten emotionally.
DON’T let your child mistake the litter box for playing in his or her own sandbox. Conversely don’t allow your cat to go in your children’s sandy play areas.
DON’T encourage children to feed cats scraps of food from the table. This creates a clingy, demanding and physically overweight pet that will never let you eat dinner in peace again.
DON’T encourage children to introduce your pet to other children unless you are also present. Cats sometimes react to strangers by scratching or biting them. This of course could lead to a hospital visit, angry neighbors and even a potential lawsuit for bodily injury and medical bills.